Mission Application Photo

Mission Application Photo

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Transfer Conference-Preparing for the new and old

This next week, we will send 4 of our missionaries home and receive 7 from the MTC.  To prepare for that, President Heid decided to do some major shuffling.  Some missionaries have been in their current areas for 8-9 months, mission leaders are returning home, and we need 7 new trainers.  With those things in mind, President went to work and came up with a transfer that impacted 50 companionships. Since most of them would be coming into Accra to make the switch, he decided to have a"Transfer" Conference.  

Attending the Conference were two other senior couples, the Jones's in the forefront, and the Haglunds, who are in Koforidua, about 1 1/2 hrs. from Accra.  Sister Jones is the mission nurse and gave a Power Point Presentation about keeping sheets on mattresses. Her son-in-law wrote a funny poem about Fred, the dust mite, who wanted to live in a mattress!  Sister Jones also encouraged the missionaries to wash their sheets weekly.

 The Stake building on the Temple site has ceiling fans, but no AC in most rooms.  We were sweltering at 10 am!!

Sister Heid posed with newly called Sister Trainer Leaders:  Sister Nwagbua on the left and Sister Eromosele on the right.  (They look like they planned their coordinated outfits.)

At Sister Scripture Study, Sister Pierson, was introduced from Idaho.  Nancy recognized her, but she didn't figure out the connection right away.  Then Sister Pierson mentioned that she and her husband lived in Salem, Oregon for about 20 years and served on our Wednesday morning Portland Oregon temple shift for a couple of years.  Then the Piersons went to Russia on a mission and moved to Idaho.  They will be temple missionaries here in Accra.

Brother Osei-Brobbrey stopped by our office this week.  He served as an AP, and was released from our mission in October.  He is currently residing about 2 hours away.  He is working on earning money by selling pillows for airline and bus travelers.  His goal is to earn enough money so that he can apply for a visa to train with the UK Army to be a mechanic. He has been accepted for an initial interview, but has to support himself in the UK until he is officially admitted into the program.

Palm Alley

Saturday we went with our neighbors to the Aburi Botanical Gardens, about 45 minutes from our apartment.  Just going about 1,000 feet up in elevation made the weather somewhat pleasant.  It was a diversion for the week.

"The gardens were founded in 1890 for the advancement of the Gold Coast Colony...to teach approved methods of planting and preparing their produce for market." (internet). While the Botanical Gardens were not as impressive as similar "attractions" in other countries, we saw a few interesting plants; cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.

Kapok Tree - White Cotton Silk tree over 75 meters tall. 

 The size of these termite hills are amazing!

This tree is a Traveler's Palm originating in eastern Madagascar.  It is so named because water can be found at the base of the tree and offers refreshment to "travelers".

This was one of the few flowering plants we found, a bougainvillea.

A yellow bamboo tree.

We are not sure why this very dilapidated helicopter was in the middle of the Botanical Gardens.  There was no explanation.
We also stopped by the Aburi Woodcarvers' Craft Market. The carvers are excellent, but we always get "bombarded", because we happen to show up when there are no other customers. We didn't buy anything this trip,but met Nickolas, a member of the church, who sells his wares there.  He has been a member of the church less than two years and serves as 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency.  We will return when we get more serious about buying!!

 Elder K was willing to vacuum the mission vehicles on his P Day.

Stan is very glad we have a small number of mission vehicles to manage since traffic is so crazy here. This was the accident report for this week.  Top picture:  motorcycle came sideways at the Jones's pick-up at a high rate of speed, never slowing, and went over the top.  Fortunately, the driver and motorcycle passenger were not injured.  Bottom picture: Tro tro misjudged distance changing lanes and clipped the pickup that the AP's were driving.  Of course, the Tro tro did not stop!!

To be honest, because the way people drive here, we sometimes don't go out.  It is like subjecting yourself to cruel and unusual punishment.  Who would do that voluntarily??? 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Angels Watching Over Them

Monday, we received word that four of our missionaries were involved in a vehicle accident near Akuse. (Akuse is located about 2 hours northeast of Accra and is part of the Kpong District).   The missionaries, themselves actually informed us that they were ok, but that there were injuries.  The four of them were riding in a taxi toward Akuse to see the missionaries there and to have an activity.  The taxi hit a pothole and blew a rear tire.  The driver over corrected and the taxi rolled over.  No one but the driver was wearing a seat belt, so all four missionaries were thrown to the roof of the car and then into each other as it flipped over. (Only drivers are required to wear seat belts and taxi drivers cut them out of their vehicles!!) Fortunately, everyone stayed inside.  A good Samaritan stopped and transported them to a local hospital.  At the hospital, the medical team bandaged them up, took X rays, and saw no major injuries. President Heid immediately asked our mission nurse, Sister Jones and her husband, to drive to Akuse, pick up our missionaries, take them to their apartment, pick up some clothing, and to bring them to Accra. Within a few hours they were at the mission home and under our care.  They were again assessed by our Area Physician and further treatment administered.  One of the missionaries had some cuts from the glass but most were just seriously bumped and bruised.  They were extremely fortunate, given the circumstances.  We truly believe that the angels were watching over them. (Remember we had a mission truck totaled a few weeks ago when missionaries hydroplaned during a rainstorm.  We have been doubly blessed with no injuries in these recent two incidents.)

Three of the missionaries are back in their areas at this writing.  For one of them, however, President Heid requested that he say a few more days.  He was suffering from a concussion and President felt he needed a little more time to recuperate.  

We are so glad they are doing well and are dealing with this traumatic experience with strength and courage.

Elder Radmall on the left, Elder Winborg in the middle, and Elder Buehner were ready for some fun for P Day.  This was five minutes before the accident.  Elder Eduok was in the front seat.
Elder Radmall and Elder Winborg are doing ok, but needing rest.

 We had a major downpour this week.

We celebrated Valentine's Day with some young and 'senior" missionaries. We had two sister missionaries being released from their mission.  President had their District come to the mission home for their weekly meeting and for the departure devotional. The mission office provided pizza. Nancy had made red velvet cupcakes to share also.  That evening we went to dinner with the Heids and Jones's. Our first choice for a restaurant required "reservations", even though only four people were in the restaurant.  So, we went to "Lord of the Wings", where we often celebrate lunch with departing missionaries.

Sister Owoses and Sister Ohanga were Sister Training Leaders. Sister Owoses returned to Namibia and Sister Ohanga to Kenya.

Justice Acquah, his fiancee, Brenda, and her sister, Abigail, stopped by to see us at the mission office.  Justice is a supply chain student at the Polytechnic School in Ho and lives at the Ho couple's home.  He cares for the property since there is no senior couple there, plus he does apartment maintenance for the young missionaries in that area.  His fiancee studies fashion design here in Accra.  They both have two years remaining before they finish their degrees. Then marriage!  Abigail has two more years to become a physician's assistant.

President asked us to take a few missionaries to a Tro-Tro Station, which is only a few miles from the mission office.  It was "lights out" in that section of town, so the routine short drive took 45 minutes.  On the way back we noticed this building and believe it is connected to the National Lottery.
The Fortune House is actually in the main business section of downtown Accra.  There are modern buildings as well as vendors everywhere!

The Movenpick is a very nice hotel.  We get our mission medications at the pharmacy there and have eaten at the dinner buffet.

And, at every intersection there are Tro-tros and hawkers.

Our two AP's went on missionary exchanges for a couple of days in Ho, "out in the bush". They checked in with missionaries stationed in that area and offered suggestions and support. They came back to the office with a nut called "yoye", although we could find nothing by that name on the internet!!  You suck on the seed inside, which has a lemon flavor, and then you discard it because it is too hard to eat!  You would break a tooth!

Friday night we ate at a restaurant called "Burgers and Relish".  Our office counterparts in the Ghana Accra West Mission, Elder and Sister Monro, thoroughly enjoyed their snicker bar milkshake.  They are from Australia and we assist each other when we have office questions!
This is some of the scenery on the way back from church today in Ashaiman, which is about 45 minutes from our apartment.  The church is in a nice home in the middle of vendor "shacks" and a dirt thoroughfare with many Tro-tros and taxis!!

Sunday is a great day to drive on the Tema Motorway.  There is less traffic, so we don't have to dodge slow trucks in the left lane, etc.  The road is being widened, which is greatly needed during peak travel times.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Out in the Bush, Billboards, and Back in the Bush

Last weekend President Heid asked us to go "out in the bush" to check on missionaries, inspect apartments, and get out of the office for a few days.    We attended church in Dzodze, a community near the Togo border.  (We had been there early in our mission.) We spent a couple of days in the Ho Zone and enjoyed a change of scenery and less traffic!!

Church members gathered after church under a mango tree.  One of  our church officials came on a visit to Ghana last year and "joked" that we didn't need buildings to meet in as long as we had a mango tree!

These are our elders outside their apartment in Dzodze.  The one on the left is Elder VanWinkle, a Navajo.  He loves this area, as it is remote like his home on the reservation in Arizona.
Hard to believe this is one of four major highways in Ghana.  At least there is some progress.  1/3 of the road has been paved since our visit in September!!  However, we still endured about 45 minutes of dirt road full of potholes!! 

We are never surprised by what is carried on top of cars! 

On Monday night we held a family home evening with 20 elders at the senior missionary home in Ho.  Only a caretaker lives here since we have no senior missionaries currently in the area.  Several missionaries had come into HO to enjoy their P-day together and prepare for a Zone training meeting on Tuesday.

The Africans, like our Chinese students, tell us they don't necessarily like sweets, but a 5 liter container of ice cream was consumed, along with many cookies!

 During a break from Zone Training, Stan visited with Elder Nissinen, who is from the Hillsboro area.

 Not all of the meeting was of a 'serious nature".

Several of the billboards we pass on the Motorway have messages below the advertisement.  Some we have noticed say: 
 The Key to a Greener Ghana is in Your Hands
Out of Difficulties Grow Miracles
Dreams don't Work Unless you Do

Sister Heid organized a training meeting at the mission home on Wednesday for all the sister missionaries, 24 in total.  She had the Sister Training Leaders plan the agenda and conduct. They did a nice job and chose topics that were important to them.

There were a few discussion groups through out the day.  Sister Graham, the temple matron, asked the young women why modesty was important in their lives; in regards to their relationships, to their spiritual and physical life, and to their work as a missionary. Interestingly, several of the sisters said sometimes people on the street will stop them and tell them they appreciate that they dress modestly.

One of the highlights of the day was a mock "radio call in show" regarding the topic of gossip and its effects.

On Friday there was a seminar at the bank next to our apartment complex.  Cars were parked everywhere and it was difficult for traffic to pass along the street.  All those cars in the picture are parked over a long deep gutter.  We aren't quite sure how the parking system works.  Some cars were parked sideways over the gutter too!  How do the tires not go in the gutter??

We attended a swimming pool party on Saturday with other senior missionaries and everyone received a mango.  It was huge!!  One of the couples had been near a mango plantation and brought some back to Accra for us.

Sunday we went with the our neighbors back into the "bush" to attend church.  We wanted to give support to our missionaries who are in a remote area.    We went to the Asutuare branch and we dropped the Jones's off at the Akuse branch, about 1 1/2 hours from our apartment. The church units are only about 15 minutes from one another.

On our drive we passed a banana plantation.  There is a blue bag visible just above the dashboard.  It will "catch" the ripe bananas.  (See above)

Akuse and Astuare are near the Volta River.  It is a nice lush area.

 This is definitely a one lane bridge!

The church building in Asutuare has a main room, used as the chapel, surrounded by a porch with open air classrooms.  The branch president owns a school and pig farm that was featured in some earlier blog posts.

This was an investigator class for those who are learning about the church.  Elder Wanjala was teaching and he has only been in the mission field a few weeks.  The gal in front was translating since many of the class members do not speak English, only a tribal dialect. To complicate teaching, many of the those attending also do not know how to read.

Elder Bergeson, from Moses Lake, Washington,  and Elder Wanjala, from Kenya, pose with Stan on the outdoor porch.